|Publication number||US7686679 B2|
|Application number||US 12/056,170|
|Publication date||Mar 30, 2010|
|Filing date||Mar 26, 2008|
|Priority date||Sep 26, 2005|
|Also published as||CN101316515A, US20080233853, WO2007034677A1, WO2007036976A1|
|Publication number||056170, 12056170, US 7686679 B2, US 7686679B2, US-B2-7686679, US7686679 B2, US7686679B2|
|Inventors||Kiyoshi Higuchi, Kazushige KITAMURA, Ryushiro GATAMURA, Masamichi ASOU, Katsumi Fujima, Satoshi Tsuji, Hidenori Ishizaki, Ryoichi SAGAE|
|Original Assignee||Mayekawa Mfg. Co., Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (14), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (1), Classifications (6), Legal Events (2)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This is a continuation of both International Application PCT/JP 2005/017582 having an international filing date of 26 Sep. 2005 and International Application PCT/JP2006/317611 having an international filing date of 6 Sep. 2006, which claims priority to PCT/JP 2005/017582. The disclosures of both International applications, in their entirety, including the drawings, claims, and the specifications thereof, are incorporated herein by reference.
Conventionally, it is typical to stun poultry with an electrical shock, then thereafter bleed, scald, defeather, eviscerate, cool, and age at low temperatures for extended periods. In the conventional method, the carcass is usually scolded to make the removal of feathers easier. Next, the carcass is defeathered, and then eviscerated. As there is a fear that the carcass becomes deteriorated during succeeding elongated processing scheme, its temperature at this point is reduced to about 4.4° C., typically by chilling the carcass in an ice or cold water bath. The chilled carcass is then aged at this low temperature for an extended period, for example, on the order of about 4 to 12 hours, to provide the required degree of tenderness and organoleptic quality.
After the low temperature aging process, the carcass is drained and cooked. However, the time required to age the carcass from the evisceration to cooking is about 4 hours to half a day in the case of poultry carcass, and 7 to 10 days or more in the case of large carcasses, such as those of pigs and cows. Such an extended aging period may cause a great problem from the hygiene and operation viewpoint.
According to the method for processing poultry disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,675,947, a live poultry bird is slaughtered without applying electrical energy, the resulting carcass is scalded, then the carcass is held in a warm, humid atmosphere at a temperature approximately equal to the normal temperature of the live bird before defeathering, and then the carcass is eviscerated. During while the carcass is held in the warm, humid atmosphere, intermittent electrical stimulation is applied to the carcass for a period sufficient to render the poultry meat tender upon subsequent cooking without the need for an extended, low temperature aging period. This method eliminates the low temperature aging, which requires an extended period, and a solution containing phosphate salts and sodium chloride is introduced to the carcass or component parts thereof to further improve tenderness.
However, it is ideal to evade deposition of phosphate salts and sodium chloride in natural food. Thus, there remains a need to greatly reduce the time period required for the aging of carcasses in comparison with conventional processing apparatuses and methods. There also remains a need to reduce viable cell count on the carcasses before cooking.
The present invention relates to carcass processing apparatus and method, in particular, for shortening the time required to aging carcasses and sterilizing the carcasses, and more specifically to shortening of the aging time by applying current from before rigor mortis sets in but during while the rigor mortis is occurring to reduce viable cell count.
One aspect of the present invention is a carcass processing apparatus. The apparatus includes a carcass transfer device for transferring eviscerated carcass in a state before vigor mortis sets in but during while the vigor mortis is occurring, and a voltage applying device for applying electrical stimulation to a carcass transferred in the state before vigor mortis sets in but during while the vigor mortis is occurring. The voltage is alternating voltage and the electrical stimulation includes a plurality of periods of voltage applications and periods between the voltage applications. Each of the period of the voltage applications, the period between the voltage applications, the period from a first voltage application set-in to a last voltage application cutoff, and amplitude and frequency of the alternating voltage, are adjustable.
The voltage applying device can include an inverter with an electric power source to supply alternating voltage of 100V or lower. Alternatively, the voltage applying device supplies electric power of commercial frequency reduced in voltage to 100V or lower. The voltage applying device can supply alternating voltage of a frequency lower than that of commercial electric power. The period of voltage application can be shorter than the period between the voltage applications.
The voltage applying device includes electrode needles configured to stick through the skin of the carcass and apply electrical stimulation to the carcass. The voltage applying device can include a primary feeder wire configured to supply high-frequency current and a magnetic core with a secondary winding that is movable along the primary feeder wire without contacting the primary feeder wire. The secondary winding produces voltage when the magnetic core with the secondary winding moves along the primary feeder wire without contacting the primary feeder wire, to provide noncontact transmission of electric power.
The magnetic core can have a recess or groove. The primary feeder wire can have a plurality of spaced waveform shapes that extend in a horizontal plane such that when the magnetic core with the secondary winding is moved horizontally, part of the waveform shaped primary feeder wire is received in the recess or groove to induce voltage in the secondary winding by the high-frequency current passing through the primary feeder wire, while the primary feeder wire outside the recess or groove does not induce voltage in the secondary winding.
A plurality of carcass transfer devices can be provided. The transfer devices can be moved along an endless route. The apparatus can further include a carcass engaging section, a needle-sticking and wing-holddown section, a voltage applying section, and a carcass discharging section provided along the endless route. The primary feeder wire need only be provided in the voltage applying section.
The apparatus can further include a guide shaft fixed to the transfer device. The voltage applying device can be attached to the transfer device. The voltage applying device can include a carcass hanger having electrode needles configured to stick into the feet or leg of the carcass, and a slider having electrode needles configured to stick into the breast part of the carcass. The slider can be vertically movably supported relative to the transfer device and guided by the guide shaft. The slider is movable up to allow the electrode needles of the slider to stick into the carcass until tips of the electrode needles reach a hollow of the carcass produced by evisceration of the carcass. The slider is movable down so that the tips of electrode needles is between the bottom of the hollow and a lower end of the carcass before voltage is applied to the carcass via the electrode needles of the carcass hanger and the slider.
The slider can include a ball plunger comprising a ball and a spring for biasing the ball. The guide shaft can be provided with a groove for receiving the ball such that the ball engages the groove to restrict the movement of the slider at a height position with which the tips of electrode needles is between the bottom of the hollow and the lower end of the carcass.
Another aspect of the present invention is a method of processing a carcass. The method can include the steps of eviscerating the carcass, applying a first electrical stimulation to the carcass in a state before vigor mortis sets in but during while the vigor mortis is occurring, chilling the carcass to lower the temperature thereof, and applying a second electrical stimulation to the carcass following the chilling step. The first and second electrical stimulations include a plurality of periods of voltage applications and a period between the voltage applications, the voltage being alternating voltage. Each period of the voltage applications, the period between the voltage applications, the period from a first voltage application set-in to a last voltage application cutoff, and amplitude and frequency of the alternating voltage, are adjustable.
At least one of the first or second electrical stimulation applying step includes a first sub step of applying electrically stimulating voltage for a first time interval, a second substep of waiting for a second time interval, in which no voltage is applied, after the first time interval ends, and a third substep of repeating the first and second substeps. The first time interval is shorter than the second time interval.
Alternatively, at least one of the first or second electrical stimulation applying step includes a first substep of applying electrically stimulating voltage for a first time interval, a second substep of waiting for a second time interval, in which no voltage is applied, after the first time interval ends, a third substep of applying electrically stimulating voltage for a third time interval, a fourth substep of waiting for the second time interval, in which no voltage is applied, after the third time interval ends, and a fifth substep of repeating the third and fourth substeps. The first time interval can be longer than the second time interval and the third time interval. The second time interval is longer than the third time interval.
At least one of the first or second electrical stimulation applying step includes a sixth substep of applying electrically stimulating voltage for a fourth time interval, a seventh substep of waiting for a fifth time interval, in which no voltage is applied, after the fourth time interval ends, and an eighth substep of repeating the sixth and seventh substeps. The fourth time interval is shorter than the fifth time interval.
Preferred embodiments of the present invention will now be detailed with reference to the accompanying drawings. It is intended, however, that unless particularly specified, dimensions, materials, relative positions and so forth of the constituent parts in the embodiments shall be interpreted as illustrative only not as limitative of the scope of the present invention.
Before explaining the various embodiments according to the present invention, a conventional carcass processing will be explained in reference to
According to a first carcass processing method according to the present invention, the conventional processing step mentioned above in
According to a second carcass processing method according to the present invention, a second electrical stimulation applying step is further provided after the chilling step (low temperature cooling step) S42 a before the thigh removing step S42 b. That is, this method includes the evisceration step, the first electrical stimulation applying step (such as in the first method) of applying electrical shock to the carcass in a state before rigor mortis sets-in but during while the rigor mortis is occurring, a low temperature chilling step, and a second electrical stimulation applying step (similar to the first electrical stimulation applying step) of applying electrical shock to the carcass following the chilling step. The mode of electrically stimulating voltage application in each of the electrical stimulation applying steps can be determined and varied to optimize the effect of the electrical stimulation.
The electrode rails 3 just below the outward route 27 a and return route 27 b are located such that width W2 between the electrode rails 3 is a little wider than width W1 between the hooks 15 a attached to the endless chain 15 so that when the carcass 25 is hanging from the hook 15 a with its feet held in the shackle 16 while the shaft part of the shackle 16 contacts the electrode rail 3 positively with a contact pressure. The grounding electrode 22 is supported on the grounding electrode support 22 a such that width W3 between the two electric wire of the grounding electrode is a little smaller than the diameter of the neck 25 b of the carcass 25 so that the electric wires can pinch the neck 25 b when the feet 25 a of the carcass 25 are held in and the carcass 25 hanging from the shackle 16. Thus, electrically stimulating voltage can be applied to the carcass 25 without fail via the electrode rail 3, the shackle 16, the feet 25 a of the carcass 25, the neck 25 b of the carcass 25, and the grounding electrode 22.
When performing electrical stimulation, usually the transfer conveyor 10 is stopped in a state where a plurality of carcasses are hanging from the conveyor, and ON-OFF of voltage application is controlled by the electrical control section 18. With the present apparartus, electrically stimulating operation of large number of carcasses is made possible, and the apparatus can be effectively utilized to compose an automatic processing line.
Each of the carcass transferring bodies 61 is provided with a pick-up coil 62 includes a magnetic core and a secondary winding. In the voltage applying section 65, alternating current of commercial frequency is converted to high-frequency alternating current by an AC/HF converter 64 attached to the carcass carrier 61, and the high-frequency current is conducted to a primary feeder wire (hereafter referred to as litz wire) 63. By the passage of the high-frequency current through the litz wire 63, voltage is induced in the secondary winding of the magnetic core of the pick-up coil 62, and electric power is transmitted from the litz wire 63 to the pick-up coil 62 without contacting with each other.
The litz wire 63 is formed into a shape of so-called alternating rectangular wave as shown in
In the needle-sticking and wing-holddown section 68, the guide member 92 of the slider 78 provided with the electrode needles 77 enters the guide groove 91. The guide groove 91 is formed to have a lowest groove 91 a continuing to a highest groove 91 b, which continues to an intermediate height groove 91 c running in a height position between the highest groove 91 b and lowest groove 91 a as can be seen in
By allowing the electrode needles 77 to penetrate the carcass 81 until the tips of the electrode needles 77 run into the hollow 81 b of the eviscerated carcass 81 and then to be drawn back until the tips are between the bottom of the hollow 81 b and lower end of the carcass in this way, the electrode needles 77 can be stuck into the carcass 81 through the flabby skin 81 a of the carcass positively. By allowing the electrode needles to penetrate the skin 81 a of the carcass 81, electrical stimulation can be applied to the carcass 81 at low voltage.
By forming the guide groove 91 such that the height position of the slider 78 when the guide member 92 is in the intermediate height groove 91 c coincides with the height position of the slider 78 when the ball of the ball plunger 90 engages with the groove 93 of the shaft 79, the slider 78 can be retained at the height position with which the electrode needles 77 attached to the slider 78 is stuck into the carcass 81, so it is enough to provide the guide groove 91 in the needle-sticking and wing-holddown section 68, and the guide groove 91 need not be provided in the voltage applying section 65.
Aging effect by electrical stimulation is different depending on the voltage, frequency, and cycle pattern of applied voltage. Effects of aging was compared by changing voltage, frequency, and cycle pattern for stimulating at frequencies lower than 60 Hz and voltages equal to or lower than 100V. A cycle pattern shown in
A first setting (100V, 60 Hz, 2 minutes of electrical stimulation period) was compared with a second setting (20V, 60 Hz, 2 min. of electrical stimulation period). With the first setting, scorching, and discoloration occurred on the test piece. With the second setting of 20V, scorching and discoloration were scarcely observed. The aging effect was irrelevant to the voltage (i.e., no correlation between the aging effect and these voltages) and almost the same in the two cases. Consequently, a lower stimulating voltage is preferred.
Then, a third setting (20V, 5 Hz, 1 second of Ton, 2 seconds of Toff, 3 minutes of stimulation period) was compared with a fourth setting (20V, 60 Hz, 1 second of Ton, 2 seconds of Toff, 3 minutes of stimulation period). The aging effect was better with the third setting. Consequently, a lower frequency is preferred.
Further, the third setting (20V, 5 Hz, 1 second of Ton, 2 seconds of Toff, 3 minutes of stimulation period) was compared with a fifth setting (20V, 5 Hz, 1 second of Ton, 1 second of Toff, 3 minutes of stimulation period). The aging effect was better with the third setting. Consequently, it is preferred to set the Toff period longer than the Ton period. A longer Toff period, one that provides a sufficient time for relaxation of the muscle of the test piece, improves the aging effect.
Further, tenderizing and increase in water absorbing property of the tissue can be achieved by applying electrical stimulation to the carcass after vigor mortis sets in. Raw flesh is subjected to physical treating such as massaging, tumbling, and tenderizing when seasoning and soaking to allow pickling liquor to soak into the meat and obtain processed meat products. By utilizing the effect of electrical stimulation, the ionic mass increased in permeability by electrical stimulation soaks its way into the muscle fiber and increases the water holding property, so that such physical treatment can be omitted. Meat products processed by the method as mentioned above will have high meat juice retentivity when cooled, thus reducing the cooking loss. Further, by applying electrical stimulation to the carcass after rigor mortis sets in and refrigerating the carcass in a state chemical and physical properties are retained, a delicious taste is improved and productive efficiency can be increased while keeping the quality of the meat from the hygienic standpoint.
The improvement in meat quantity concerning water holding property, flavor, and hardness of the meat was measured, and the result is illustrated in
Further, when deboning the carcass after electrical stimulation is applied, elongated aging time of the carcass in a chilled state in the conventional processing causes the muscle fiber and the connective tissue in muscle to become fragile, and fine splits of meat remain on the bone when performing mechanical deboning. Consequently, the yield of meat is reduced and the external appearance is deteriorated. According to the present processing according to the present invention, since deboning can be performed without delay after the application of electrical stimulation, the yields of meat increases in comparison with the conventional method.
The present invention is applicable to a poultry carcass processing apparatus and method, and also applicable to the processing of carcasses livestock including pigs, cows, and so on.
The present invention can reduce the aging time period required in the conventional carcass processing. Further, viable cell count adhered to carcasses before cooking can be reduced. Specifically, the processing time periods can be reduced by the reduction in aging time periods, which contributes significantly to control microbe growth. By applying the present invention, labor-saving automated process can be instituted, first-in first-out system and stable temperature control can be realized by composing a continuous processing apparatus.
While the present invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing and other changes in form and details can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. All modifications and equivalents attainable by one versed in the art from the present disclosure within the scope and spirit of the present invention are to be included as further embodiments of the present invention. The scope of the present invention accordingly is to be defined as set forth in the appended claims.
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|1||International search report issued in corresponding PCT/JP2006/317611, dated Dec. 12, 2006.|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
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|Cooperative Classification||A22B5/0088, A22C9/002|
|European Classification||A22B5/00G, A22C9/00C|
|Jun 11, 2008||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MAYEKAWA MFG. CO., LTD., JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HIGUCHI, KIYOSHI;KITAMURA, KAZUSHIGE;GATAMURA, RYUSHIRO;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:021075/0974;SIGNING DATES FROM 20080521 TO 20080529
Owner name: MAYEKAWA MFG. CO., LTD.,JAPAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HIGUCHI, KIYOSHI;KITAMURA, KAZUSHIGE;GATAMURA, RYUSHIRO;AND OTHERS;SIGNING DATES FROM 20080521 TO 20080529;REEL/FRAME:021075/0974
|Sep 4, 2013||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4